VAL SPEAKS OUT: Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti have spoken out for the first time since Italian investment fund Permira bought control of Valentino Fashion Group from the Marzotto family this month, which has sparked another round of speculation that the designer could be preparing to retire after his 45th anniversary bash in Rome in July. Valentino and Giammetti chose their words carefully when talking about the future creative direction of the house. “I’m not thinking of retirement. In the future, we’ll see. I love my work too much. There’s still a lot to do,” Valentino demurred during an interview at his sumptuous Roman headquarters on Thursday. Giammetti, true to form, called Valentino irreplaceable and downplayed the succession issue. “Valentino is Valentino. Valentino is the man behind the brand and its creative force,” Giammetti said, adding that any other designer brought into the mix would merely be a creative director and not an outright replacement for Valentino.

TO CATCH A THIEF: After stealing money and art in the first two films, respectively, what kind of heist are Clooney, Pitt and Damon going to pull in “Ocean’s 13”? Why, a jewelry heist, of course. Tiffany & Co. supplied the film with several pieces of jewelry inspired by its Majestic diamond necklace for the film, which comes out today. The jewelry belongs to hotelier Willie Bank, played by Al Pacino, who has a penchant for pricey diamond necklaces. Each piece is kept in a shrine to his success and has five impressive diamonds — akin to the five stars his hotels are awarded.

SCHOOL OF FROCK: Budding designer Victoria Beckham laid down her needle and scissors to take a look at the work of young creatives at the annual Graduate Fashion Week awards Wednesday in London’s Battersea Park. Beckham, clad in a patterned minidress from Giles Deacon, joined Alber Elbaz and Glenda Bailey to select the joint winners of the Graduate Fashion Week Gold award, Jasper Sincha Chadprajong and Nicholas Thomas. The designers, who both showed men’s wear collections, were awarded 10,000 pounds, or $20,000, each to support their design career. Zandra Rhodes, Henry Holland, Jimmy Choo, Stuart Vevers, and Mulberry chief executive Lisa Montague also presented awards.

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